Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Feels Like A Good Day

For a lot of reasons!

First, this article. "A respected former Catholic bishop in Ireland is calling for an end to clerical celibacy in the wake of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church worldwide, and says he finds it 'heartbreaking' that some prospective priests turn away from the calling because of the celibacy rule." Yay! Good for him! I agree entirely.

Second, this: "the Holy See could, for the first time, admit that these aspects fought by the 'Integrists' are not considered as 'essential' to the Catholic faith to the point of keeping outside the Church those who do not admit them. And that what is foundational to the Catholic faith for twenty centuries is the sole [aspect] considered fundamental for communion with the Holy See, and not the interpretation from the last Council to this day."

Yes!!!! This is what I have been saying all along. That the SSPX and the Vatican could "agree to disagree" by clarifying that issues like religious liberty and ecumenism are prudential questions, not a matter of doctrine. That Vatican II's "teachings" on these matters were suggestions about pastoral approach, but not dogma or anything like that, and that people are free to advocate the opinion that the modern approach is a bad approach.

This would also greatly help resolve the cognitive dissonance so many Catholics seem to have over the apparent 180 that was made on these questions after Vatican II. If they are not doctrinal, but rather prudential "diplomatic" questions of administrative and pastoral approach...then a change neither needs to be explained (nor explained-away with neocon mental gymnastics), nor agreed with, as there can always be debate about such prudential questions.

Fr. Z puts it unusually well when he says, "People of good will can differ on theological points and still remain in unity. People of good will can attain unity even when they disagree on matters which are by no means clear. The history of the Church’s great Councils underscores this fact. How many times have I written that the so-called 'Feeneyites' were able to be in union with the Church but without having to abjure their position about extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. The theological problems the SSPX has with the Second Vatican Council or the Holy See or anything else, don’t necessarily need to be the absolute obstruction to unity. Questions of the role of the Church in the modern world or religious liberty are really hard. There is room for debate and disagreement. It is possible for people of good will to disagree about whether or not the fruits of Vatican II were all wonderful. There is a precedent for closer union even when we consider the theological concerns some SSPXers might be harboring."

I've used the Feeneyite example myself before (being myself, counter-intuitively, both a Feeneyite-sympathizer and a soft-universalist-sympathizer). The reconciled Feeneyites were not required to accept the salvation of the non-water-baptized as if those streams of speculation (desire, blood, invincible ignorance, etc) were dogma, and they were allowed to continue personally holding that God didn't save any outside the actual Sacrament. They merely had to agree that their rigorist interpretation, while indeed tolerable, was not the only one tolerable. That while Revelation didn't positively include the salvation of any but the water-baptized, it also didn't positively exclude it either.

I myself suggested that a similar detante could be reached between the SSPX and the Vatican. Reaffirm certain principles (like, on the one hand, that error has no rights and, on the other, that true belief cannot be coerced by force) but then otherwise both sides should admit that the practical questions about how the Church should deal with other religions and/or the State...is a prudential question on which Catholics are free to differ in opinion.

Making it clear that the way things worked in the past was not "intrinsically wrong" or something like that, and that the SSPX support for that ancien regime is okay, would also help reconcile the Church with her own past (a hermeneutic of continuity!) even for those of us who are more inclined to believe that the current approach on these matters is probably better at least in the contemporary circumstances.

Finally, this about Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. The Russian Orthodox have basically said that, if the church property dispute in Ukraine can be resolved, "as soon as we have this understanding, we will be ready to begin preparations for such a meeting" between the Pope and Patriarch of Moscow! Now, as Fr. Z describes (albeit rather sneeringly), the property situation is sticky, and there are some serious questions of justice there...but let's all pray that this roadblock to such a major step towards reunion can be lifted, and that it truly is the final one.

All around, a good day filled with good news!


George said...

"both sides should admit that the practical questions about how the Church should deal with other religions and/or the State...is a prudential question on which Catholics are free to differ in opinion."


Who Am I said...

"both sides should admit that the practical questions about how the Church should deal with other religions and/or the State...is a prudential question on which Catholics are free to differ in opinion."

While I DO agree that indeed this IS debatable, I also have some reservations. Namely in that some more Radical Traditionalist Roman Rite Catholics DO hold (almost dogmatically certain) values that indeed DO need to be addressed. To put it simply, they are our WestBoro Baptist church. If both views are tolerated, a person could in "good conscience" state that The Church does not condemn this particular view and as such, I acted in accord with my conscience. The Church may very well say that we neither affirm or condemn such acts, but that doesn't always work so well in practice as our own history informs us. I'm all for contradictions, but I do however find it equally absurd that we retroactively find a way to condone the acts of The Faithful in ages past, when they were contrary to what The Church has always taught concerning the matter.

It is my understanding, that a Catholic in GOOD conscience can baptize a baby in a hospital (or any other such circumstance) wherein the child is at the point of death. Now lets assume for a moment, that by the grace of GOD, the child resuscitates, what is the Catholic to do then IF the child was born to non-Catholic parents ? Sure, one would hope that the grace of that baptism would move the parents to conversion, HOWEVER it does not follow that they will cooperate with grace. What would then be the fate of that child who by jurisdiction is a valid member of The Church, but will not be raised in The Faith ? Again, providence may be that the child will one day embrace The Faith etc., but again GOD does not coerce us to participate WITH grace.

So what do we do then ?

Petrus Augustinus said...

Why do you disagree with mandatory celibacy? It has been the Church's tradition since the Apostles. How can you consider yourself a Traditionalist if you disagree with a tradition like this?

A Sinner said...

Ha. You obviously don't really understand the ethos of this blog. I'm a lover of liturgical tradition, to be sure, and traditional forms of piety, art, etc (though considered in the broadest possible historical sense, not merely the "Tridentine"). But I am not someone who believes in maintaining non-essential tradition as an end in itself if it is ultimately institutionally detrimental to the Church.

Also, mandatory celibacy for the secular clergy has NOT been the Church's practice since the time of the Apostles.

It was a gradual and ever-more-enforced development in the West (being finally "definitively" institutionalized around the 11th century) but attempts to practically "dogmatize" it call it an Apostolic tradition are flimsy at best and tend to be associated with ideogoguery.

Bryan said...

I agree with you and Bishop Daly, former Bishop of Derry.

After much reflection I have finally come to the view that secular clergy should be allowed to marry before ordination.

The Greek Catholics can provide the Roman Church with a good working model.

Those who wish to be celibate, a far more sacrifical and more Christ-like path, may become Religious. But the Religious must act as Religious and follow their respective Rules faithfully.

Bryan Dunne